Green Cash in the Attic


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Series looking at whether household junk could be worth a small fortune. A theatrical family from Kent try to make enough money at auction to pay for a trip to London's West End.


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Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the show that hunts down

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hidden treasures in your home and helps you sell them at auction.

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Well, today, I'm in Tenterden in Kent,

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the county known as the Garden of England, and I've stopped off to see this charming Smallhythe Place.

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'Now a theatre museum, this half-timbered cottage was built in the 1500s.

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'In the Victorian era, it was bought as a bolthole by the famous thespian Dame Ellen Terry.

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'The highest-earning actress of her day, she would come here to rest between plays.

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'In 1928 her daughter converted it into a theatre

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'and now it's a museum.'

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I'm heading off to a village near here where I'm hoping to find

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plenty more theatrical treasures that will take centre stage

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when they go under the hammer at auction.

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'Today on Cash In The Attic, we're with a theatrical family...'

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-Wow.

-Really?

-Fabulous.

-Excellent!

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'..who are full of surprises.'

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-So tell me the story of these. Where are they from?

-My aunt found them.

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-She found them?

-Yes, she found them...in the bin.

-No!

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'But when it comes to auction will they be the ones lost for words?'

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THEY GASP

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'Find out when the hammer falls.'

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180.

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I've come to the pretty village of Biddenden in Kent to meet a family

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who want to raise some funds for a rather dramatic treat.

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'There are so many members of the Green family

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'that it looks like they could have their own theatre company.

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'Mum Isobel and dad David moved into this beautiful house in 2004

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'when they needed space for their growing family,

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'Eleanor, who is 17,

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'aspiring actor 16-year-old James,

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'and 12-year-old Hugo.

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'And an ensemble cast of pets, which includes two dogs.

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'Not surprisingly with such a large household, Isobel and Dave

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'have a house full of collectibles and they feel it's time to clear the aisles.

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'And they're hoping to use the proceeds for a very special night on the town.'

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-Oh, morning, Paul.

-Good morning. How are you?

-I'm fine.

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I've got a lovely family today, a bit dramatic but nice.

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The eldest son, James, wants to be an actor.

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-A fellow thespian.

-Have you ever trodden the boards?

-I've swept a few in my time.

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-Did you make much money at it?

-Not really, no. More money in antiques and collectibles.

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If you stick to the script, hopefully you can raise them some money.

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Right. OK, come on. Curtain's up.

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-Oh, there you all are. Hello.

-Hello!

-Right.

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So who've we got here then. You are?

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-Hugo.

-Hello, Hugo. This is Dad, I presume.

-This is Dad, David.

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-James.

-You want to be an actor, is that right?

-Yeah.

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I'd like to do something along the lines of theatre or TV or something.

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-Now, is it something to do with your ambitions then that you've called in Cash In The Attic?

-Yeah, sort of.

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We were hoping that we would maybe have a trip up to London and go to the theatre,

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especially as James is interested in acting and the theatre. It would be good fun.

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And do you often go out to the theatre in London?

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No, not very often, so that should be quite a fun trip with the family.

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-How much money do you think you need to raise for this, then, David?

-About £400 would be very, very nice.

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So we need to raise £400, so you can all get up to London

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and have a fantastic trip at the theatre, with a few snacks and a couple of drinks beforehand.

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OK. Well, we'd better get on, then, hadn't we? Shall we?

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'While we're on the rummage, Eleanor has decided to revise for exams, poor thing.

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'But by the look of these stacked rooms, we've got a real production ahead of us.

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'Luckily, Paul Hayes is making a star appearance today.'

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-Hello! How are you?

-What have you found then?

-Well, I must admit I love these programmes.

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This one here represents 1905 and it's a visit from the King of Spain.

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-There's also this one here.

-Yeah, there's that one as well.

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This one is very interesting.

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It's actually dated 1903, but the item's superb, it's made from silk.

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And of course this would have been bought at the time,

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if you were lucky enough to go to this gala performance together with the King and Queen.

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You could buy paper programmes, but if you wanted to spend more you could buy these silk examples.

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But what I like about this one, it actually commemorates the visit

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from the French President,

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and that was very, very important at that time.

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-Oh, right.

-It's a year before the entente cordiale.

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-Basically, we've always been at war with France for generations.

-Yeah.

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And it was only at the turn of the 20th century we got together and signed this agreement.

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And then ten years later when the First World War came along,

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it was very important to be allies with France.

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-Yes.

-And that changed the whole face of things.

-So, where are these from?

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They came from my aunt's.

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-Really?

-Yes, she found them...

-She found them?

-Yes, in a bin.

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-No!

-Never!

-And she just loved them and kept them.

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So, what sort of value are we talking about, do you think, Paul?

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At least £50 to £100, and I should imagine on the day if any opera lovers are there, any royalists...

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Yeah, you need the right people there on the day.

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You do. I think they're fantastic items.

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OK, they're off to auction, then.

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-Let's see what else we can find.

-I'll leave them there for now.

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I actually don't really have any sentimental attachment to them.

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I think they came to me accidentally, it's just the way it happened.

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I'm sure some collector will enjoy adding them to their collection.

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'And speaking of collections, it's clear that there's plenty of potential in this house.

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'Oops. David's got sidetracked in the costume department.

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'And in the hall, James has taken a shine to this silver-plated tea set.

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'It might wow the crowds on auction day at between £30 and £50.

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'In the living room, it looks like David's moved on to the props.'

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-I told you it's curtain up. Look at that.

-Hello.

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Oh, you've got Puff the Magic Dragon.

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-They're amazing, aren't they?

-So, David, where do they come from?

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Well, Isobel's collected them over the years.

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She had some when she was very young,

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and obviously over the years one or two come along.

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The theatre's quite an early addition as well.

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-Do you know what you paid for any of them?

-Some of them are quite expensive.

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-The older ones, obviously, are quite...

-How do you tell the older ones?

-It's the boxes.

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-It's the boxes.

-Yeah, the boxes make all the difference.

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These are the first type of boxes, very plain,

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simple cardboard boxes with these simple designs on the top.

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Then I think 1956, '57, they started to introduce the yellow boxes, so these are actually quite early.

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What I love about Bob Pelham, he was a great pioneer, but he actually invented the Wonky Donkey.

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-You know that little toy where the donkey moves around?

-Yeah.

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He was known for that during the war and then he went into business.

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He borrowed some money off his dad and his dad said,

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"If you make a go of this, mate, pigs will fly."

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-Oh, no! That's where it came from.

-That's where it comes from, yeah.

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So he put those on the box and something like seven million were sold, so there's loads around.

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What sort of estimate would you put on them?

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-You say there were seven?

-Ish.

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OK, right, well if I'm being conservative here,

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you've got the theatre with it, I'd say at least £100 upwards.

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There might be a rare one amongst them...and see how they get on.

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Fair enough. £100 or more would be good.

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We want £400, so this is a great contribution but not quite enough.

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Shall I see what else we can find?

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-You can leave us, me and Dave will hang here.

-Absolutely!

-Which one do you want to be?

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'Paul and David aren't the only ones enjoying pulling the strings.

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'While I get sidetracked with Puff,

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'Hugo has served up a full dinner service.

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'This dainty Gainsborough set might bring in £30 to £50 in the sale.

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'In the hallway, Isobel's found some candidates that might join it at auction.'

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-Paul?

-Yeah?

-Paul, come and have a look at this.

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Let's have a look. Oh, some little figurines.

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-So whose are these, then?

-Well, mine, I guess.

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Of course they are. Did you buy them?

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No, I didn't. Well, they were my mother's.

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Well, these are very 1950s, early '60s.

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They were very, very popular at that time.

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It's a firm called Goebel, have you heard of them?

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I know that she called them Hummel figures.

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Right. Well, the word Hummel actually comes from the name of the artist

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who designed the illustrations to make these figurines.

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She was a nun, and apparently the director of Goebel stumbled across some of her drawings,

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and wanted to make them into a ceramic form

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but he had to ask the Franciscan Church.

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That still goes on today, every time one of these figures are made, they have to get permission

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for the drawings to be used.

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-They also have this little triangle on the bottom.

-Yes.

-The Goebel triangle there.

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-Have they all got that, do you know?

-I think so.

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That one's got it. Another one, that one has. Let's have a look at this one.

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Uh...no. Fake.

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-We have an impostor there, can you see?

-Yeah, different face.

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You can see the quality isn't there.

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This is just a cheap imitation, so that has no value whatsoever.

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If I said about £20 each now, so that's 60 to 100.

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-How does that sound?

-Gosh, that's good, isn't it?

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-Are you sure David won't miss them?

-I don't think so.

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Let's go and ask him. David, we're selling your figures, mate.

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The Hummel figures. That's a good valuation and to be honest, I've never really liked them.

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I think they've got silly faces

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and that silly little quiff on the little hiker. I won't miss them.

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'So, off they hike to auction. There are certainly plenty of knick-knacks and memorabilia in this house.

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'In the kitchen I found another dinner set that could deliver the goods.

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'This Victorian Blue dinner service

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'might bring in £50 to £100.

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'While the boys keep up the hunt, I track down Isobel and David in the garden.'

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How do you think it's going so far?

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-Very well.

-Yeah? Are you pleased with the valuations?

-Yes.

-Very much so.

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Most of the items that we seem to be seeing are coming from your side of the family, Isobel.

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Yeah, some I've inherited from my mother and some from my aunt.

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They died quite close together so I had an awful lot of stuff all at once.

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There's quite a theatrical theme going on so have either of you two

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-ever been tempted to go on the stage?

-No, just amateur dramatics.

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-You have done amateur dramatics?

-I've done it, yeah. My father used to do it a lot too.

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Is there something going through the family here

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-cos there's certainly a theatre interest?

-Possibly, yeah.

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-And James of course does.

-Yeah, so what's his plans, then,

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because it's not exactly a secure job, is it?

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No, no, he's got some back-up plans.

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That's something nowadays, isn't it? At least he's got back-up plans.

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Or at least I've got back-up plans for him.

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Before the final curtain falls, can we find anything else?

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-Come on, we've got time to take these in, I think.

-Great.

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'You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race.'

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Hello, Harriet.

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'And we've certainly been cracking on in a bid

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'to find items for our theatre trip fund.

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This New Hall Pottery bowl with a daffodil pattern can be added to our cast list.

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It belonged to Isobel's grandmother and could take centre stage

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at around £50 to £100 in the sale.

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And it looks like James has found a whole set of characters

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that could audition for the auction.

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-Paul?

-Yep?

-Do you think this is worth anything?

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Let's have a look. Oh, right, that's some collection.

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Yeah. It's Beatrix Potter, little figurines.

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Right. Well, she really was one of the first people to put animals

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in real-life situations, make them into human-like characters.

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There's a couple of things to look for. These have been made since the 1940s,

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and if you have a look, they all have "Copyright 1948".

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-Can you see that?

-Oh, yeah. They were made in two cycles.

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The original figurines when they first appeared

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had a gold back stamp, it flashes as you turn it into the light.

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The browner back stamps are a bit later, so I'd say these were 1980s

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if not even later than that but very, very collectible.

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I tell you what is interesting about Beatrix Potter as well,

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she was very famous for studying flowers and plants and food

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and she was actually world famous for the study of mushrooms.

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-Oh, yeah?

-So do you think we can sell them?

-Probably.

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-Well, how many have you got? One...two...six, haven't you?

-Yep.

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Well, if I said to you £60 to £100, how does that sound?

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I wouldn't have thought that they'd be worth that much.

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Shall we ask Jemima?

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-Come on, let's keep looking.

-Yup.

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The Beatrix Potter figurines surprised me because I didn't think

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they would be worth that much, there's not very many of them.

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They've just always been there.

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So, yeah, they'll not really be missed.

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But are we dressed for success?

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No nook is safe in our bid to find objects for our theatre fund.

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This oil painting of a winter scene with a white frame might be an option.

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It's a good size and would look nice in a modern flat or on a pub wall.

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It is signed by the artist but not clearly,

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and as he's unsure of its background,

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Paul thinks £20 to £40 is a fair price for this.

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It's been a whirlwind tour of the Greens' home and we've found quite a few items to go to auction.

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But have we got enough to reach our £400 target?

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As we have one last look, Paul sniffs out a new talent.

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Isobel? I love these scent bottles.

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Are these like a family heirloom?

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-Yes, they belonged to my grandmother.

-These are great. I think they're great pieces of social history.

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-We're all so used to buying perfumes now already in the bottles.

-Yes.

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But when these bottles were made, you'd actually go to your chemist,

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-and your chemist would decant the perfume for you.

-Right.

-So you'd all have these individual bottles.

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So it would have to be kept airtight.

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Underneath here would be a stopper at some point.

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-Do you know if it had a stopper underneath?

-Not since I've had it.

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It's a good way to tell for condition too,

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because the stopper would be forced into there, you'd get a crack or a craze.

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but this is in wonderful condition. This is genuine cut glass, do you know how to tell?

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-When you ping?

-It is in some cases, but this is difficult to ping.

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It almost cuts your fingers, can you feel that?

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-It's very, very sharp.

-Yes, it is.

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That's hand-made. Now if this was made in a mould, the whole thing would be lost, it's quite numb.

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So the fact it's very sharp, it's silver mounted, that's a very, very good scent bottle indeed.

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That's a great item. We've got another few bits here. I'll grab this one,

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which is a little cotton bud holder.

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A good little tip here on these thin items is to hold them up to the light

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because with all the polishing, you can get little holes appear.

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This one's not in bad condition, that's a good little tip

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because if they're holey, you've a big problem.

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So that's great, you've got quite a few little items.

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-Are you sure David won't use that for aftershave?

-THEY LAUGH

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Here he is now. OK? Hello! Did you hear that?

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-Aye, I heard that.

-Hello, Lorne.

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No, I think the moustache is staying for a few years yet.

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You've found some lovely items, what are they worth?

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These are very attractive, we've got a couple of smaller items here too.

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-If I said at least £120, maybe £150?

-Wow.

-Brilliant.

-Yes.

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Well, I'm very pleased, because you wanted £400, didn't you, to take the family to the theatre in London?

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The total value of everything that you're sending to auction comes to £570.

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-Oh, really?

-Fabulous.

-Excellent.

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-So you're pleased with that?

-Yeah, really pleased, that's great.

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Next time you see them they'll be on display

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and hopefully there'll be lots of people handling them because they want to buy them.

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-So are you looking forward to that?

-Yes.

-Yes, without a doubt.

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Auctions are always unpredictable, so it's just as well we came in over target

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and the star players performing at this auction include

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the silk opera programmes that Isobel's aunt saved from the bin.

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We're hoping they'll raise the curtain at £50 to £100.

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The quirky Pelham puppets with their flying pig trademark,

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we hope they'll take off in the sale at around £100 to £150.

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And this chorus of Beatrix Potter animals,

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Paul thinks they might steal the show at £60 to £100.

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Still to come on Cash In The Attic,

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time for our stars to make an appearance.

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But will their performance be up to scratch?

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I think he's unsold those, actually, at 75.

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We're certainly hoping for a standing ovation.

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Wow.

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Find out when the final hammer falls.

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Now, it's been a few weeks since we visited the theatrical Green family at their home in Kent

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and we found lots of lovely items to bring here to Chiswick Auction Rooms in West London.

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Now, they're looking to raise around £400 so the whole family can enjoy a day out to the stage in West London,

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so let's just hope that today when our items go under the hammer, they receive a full standing ovation.

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It's a good turnout today and there's certainly plenty to see.

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Let's hope our man, Paul Hayes, doesn't scare them away.

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# La-a-a-a-a

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-# La-a-a-a-a. #

-Hello, my dear.

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Oh! Just in time before the chandelier's all lit up.

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Don't worry, I've got some tablets for indigestion, so I think you'll be OK. These are lovely.

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They're great. I've just noticed on this one

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that Signor Caruso was involved in this performance, isn't that great?

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-That's fantastic.

-There we go.

-So do you think we'll get these away today?

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Yeah, these are great, interesting items. If you went to these performances you were very wealthy.

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They're lovely things, a bit of memorabilia.

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As much as I like these, the Pelham puppet theatre has stolen my heart. I think that's fantastic.

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Yes, visual items. Anybody that grew up in the '50s and '60s,

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it's a great thing to have, some personal memories for somebody.

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It's nearly time to raise the curtain, so shall we meet them?

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Thought you'd never ask. My moment's arrived.

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Let's hope the buyers out there have an artistic bent.

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They certainly look like a cultured lot.

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Perhaps they'll like our Pelham puppets.

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Isobel has brought them today, along with another addition.

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-Good morning.

-Hello.

-How are you, all right?

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-I'm Brian, Isobel's brother.

-David's working away from home, so Brian's standing in.

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Doesn't this look fantastic, hey? What a wonderful thing, but I can't see the dragons anywhere.

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Yeah, they've stayed at home, I'm afraid.

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-Ah...you wanted to keep those, did you?

-Hugo's a bit of a dragon freak.

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I don't blame you, they're such cute things, don't you think?

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Yeah. These are great items, and from experience

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I've seen lots of people who've had these items around the house

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and they become one of the family, so I do understand.

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Do we have high hopes for this, Paul?

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Originally I said £100, £120, and I think you've still got about that here.

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-It's nicely set up, it's in good display, we're in a great place, so I stand by that estimate.

-Good.

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Let's hope we can make all your money. We're in a back room here, the auction's about to start.

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Shall we go and get in position, OK?

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If you're thinking of buying or selling at auction,

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bear in mind that VAT and other charges apply.

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Right, ladies and gentlemen, I shall start the sale in just a moment.

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We've found a good spot set back from the auction just in time for our first lot,

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-the little German Hummel figures.

-Hummel figures are very collectible

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-but I think one of them wasn't a Hummel, if I remember rightly.

-Yeah.

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-Do you like them?

-I do, yes, they're lovely.

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£50 for that lot, 20 to start me...

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22, 25, 28, £30, 35, £40...

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at £40, do I see? 45, at £50...

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No? You're not bidding. 45 is here.

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£45 is near me, at £45... you dropped out at 45 and I'm selling 45.

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Wow! That's all right, isn't it?

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-It's amazing.

-That was really good.

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Especially as you didn't like them.

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Under estimate but that's not a bad start.

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And keeping in the realm of children's figurines,

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the six Beswick Beatrix Potter figures are up next.

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All in the room at £70... have you finished?

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That was a cheeky result.

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But when the silver-plated tea set takes home a figure

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just under its estimate...

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22 it's going... 22 to buyer 509.

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And immediately after that, the Gainsborough dinner service sells.

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Last chance at 70.

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-Yes!

-That's good, isn't it? £70.

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We're really beginning to warm up now.

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£70 is more than twice our lower estimate.

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So far we've made £207 towards our £400 evening out at the theatre fund,

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and we're hoping our next lot will be the star of the show.

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But they are missing some highly collectible characters.

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Now it's our piece de resistance.

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We should be selling tickets just to have a look at this theatre.

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It's a wonderful, wonderful piece. And what do we want for this?

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£100 plus, let's see how we get on. The dragons were the main items, but they're not here.

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£100 for this lot?

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40 to start me then, at 40 for all the puppets. At £40...45 now.

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At £40, can I take 40? 45 I am bid...50, 55...

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60, 65... at £70, 75...

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£80, another one?

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At £80, against you at £80...

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any more at 80?

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There you are. I think he's unsold those at 75, just cos it wasn't quite enough.

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-I think if all the ones would have been here, they would have gone well over the £100.

-Well, there you go.

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That was a bit of a shock, we expected them to do so well.

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And room for another let-down when the Victorian dinner service

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also fails to realise its potential.

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Disappointing at 25, that remains unsold for the present.

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And goes unsold.

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This is not looking good for our fund.

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We're more than halfway through the auction and we need to put some money in the pot.

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And when the pretty New Hall bowl fails to sell.

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Any further bids on 20?

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-That's coming home.

-You're quite pleased about that, aren't you? I can tell.

-I'm not bothered.

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It's a blow,

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but thankfully Isobel doesn't seem too downhearted.

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Well, it didn't sell but I've always liked it.

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It's just unusual and bright, so I'm going to put it back.

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Isobel may be happy to take the bowl home,

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but after a dire run of no sales we need to lift the mood here.

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Paul was very keen on our next lot.

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Perhaps it will freshen up our chances.

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We've got an estimate on that have we, Paul?

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Yeah, it looks about £120.

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I tried to be conservative with those, there are lots of buyers for this type of thing.

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I do remember that large perfume bottle was an absolute cracker.

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-Yes, there is a reserve on it. I put a reserve on it.

-OK, which is?

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-130.

-Oh, OK, all right. OK.

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I am bid £100 in two places, 110...

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120, 130, 140, 150...

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150 I have, 160 is the next bid.

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-At £150.

-That's great.

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Any further bidding on £150? Have you all finished at 150? Selling, then.

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-150, pleased with that?

-Yeah, very.

-£20 above your reserve.

-Yeah.

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-Looks good to me.

-Excellent.

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That brought a welcome change of tune and now the show must continue.

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Our next lot is the opera programmes.

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Commission interest again in these starting at 55, 60, five, 70, five, 80, £80 I have.

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85, 90.

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-More.

-£90 I have, 95 is it?

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£90. The bid's still with me at £90 on commission.

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All done at £90.

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-Great!

-That's good, isn't it?

-Yes!

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-Are you pleased with that?

-Yep.

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What a brilliant result.

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Those last two sales have given us the boost we needed,

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but our next lot is a dark horse.

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This painting was left to Isobel by her aunt

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but she's not sure who the artist is.

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I've never liked it, it's very dark.

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It was my aunt's, and I've had it valued a couple of times,

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and it's never really been more than about £30, so we'll see.

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-What do you want for this, Paul?

-I put this in the region of £20 to £40 just as a decorative picture.

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I think with all art it depends on who has painted it, it's all about the artist.

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-You can have a blob but if it's the right person who's painted it.

-Personal taste too.

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British School winter scene, snow scene, well presented.

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-Commission interest in this starting at £70.

-Commission interest, £70!

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80, five...90, five...100, and ten.

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110 I'm bid, 110 I'm bid,

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-120 I'll take, 120 I'm bid, 130 I'm bid.

-Wow.

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140, 150, 160, 170, 180...

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-at 180 I am out. At 180 commissions are finished at £180.

-Oh, crikey.

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It's in the room now, 180 and selling.

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£180, that is fantastic.

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-Yeah, yeah!

-For something you don't like.

-Brilliant!

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Isobel is rightly pleased and whether it was bought by someone

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who recognised the artist or because it's a fine contemporary picture,

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the theatre fund is benefiting.

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And speaking of our £400 target, just how close have we got to it?

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I'm pleased to tell you you've actually made £627.

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-Wow.

-Wow! That's brilliant.

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-I think it's superb, considering the bowl didn't sell, nor did the theatre.

-Or the dinner service.

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There's three big items that didn't sell and you've still made that much money.

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That's brilliant, that's our night out sorted.

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A balmy evening in London town, what better place for a special family night out?

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There's the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

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-London Eye.

-Cleopatra's Needle.

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There's lots to see from this bridge, isn't there?

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The Greens are making the most of their time to cram in some sights.

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And then over there, that's St Martin-in-the-Fields.

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Do you wanna swim...wanna swim?

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We're looking around Trafalgar Square, and various things to see,

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and then we'll have something to eat.

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Then we're going to the theatre to see The Woman In Black, which James is studying for his ASs

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so it'll be really useful for him to actually see the play on stage.

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-James in particular is looking forward to the show.

-Can't wait to see the play.

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I've been looking forward to it for ages, and maybe I'll pick up some tips for later in my career.

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This play is a classic ghost story and the family are bound to get a thrill or two.

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We've got the tickets, the show's going to be great but scary.

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So we're all going to go in and enjoy ourselves, and all thanks to Cash In The Attic.

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If you've got a project in mind you'd like to raise some funds for

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by selling your antiques and collectibles at auction,

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why not get in touch with Cash In The Attic?

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You'll find more details and an application form

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at our website.

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See you next time.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Limited

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E-mail [email protected]

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Lorne Spicer meets a theatrical family from Kent with aspirations for a grand day out to London's West End. There's a full cast of antiques to examine, including some opera programmes found in a rubbish bin; could they turn out to be the star attraction?